Readers have long been asking me for my version of the chocolate chip cookie, but I always wondered how I could possibly improve on this classic. After much thought, finally I did indeed find a way.
In France, the financier, or ingot, is the fingerprint of the pastry chef. In the United States, however, the cookie that can make a pastry chef’s reputation is indisputably the chocolate chip cookie. Chocolate chip cookies vary from baker to baker in the proportion of ingredients chosen, the quality of these ingredients, and how the cookies are shaped and baked. My new version is crisp, chewy, and also lactose free if you do not add the browned milk solids. The two most important factors that contribute to its flavor and texture are decreasing the usual amount of sugar and browning the butter—an extra step that offers an amazingly delicious taste and evaporates the water contained in the butter for a firmer cookie. I toast the walnuts lightly to enhance their flavor and remove as much of the bitter peel as possible. I have also reduced the salt for a better balance. Although great with conventional light brown sugar, to make this cookie extra special I use Muscovado light brown sugar from India Tree.
Plan Ahead For the best flavor and texture, make the cookie dough 12 to 24 hours ahead of baking.
|bleached all-purpose flour|
|fine sea salt||.|
|light brown Muscovado sugar, or dark brown sugar|
|pure vanilla extract||.||.|
|bittersweet chocolate chips, 55% to 63% cacao (see Note)|
Two 15 by 12 inch cookie sheets, no preparation needed or lined with parchment
Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the middle of the oven and
Have ready a fine-mesh or cheesecloth-lined strainer suspended over a
In a small heavy saucepan over very low heat, melt the butter. Raise the heat to low and cook, uncovered, watching carefully to prevent burning. Move away any foam on the surface to check the progress. As soon as the milk solids become a deep brown, immediately pour the butter through the strainer into the glass measure, scraping the solids into the strainer.
Measure or weigh
Spread the walnuts evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about 7 minutes to enhance their flavor. Stir once or twice to ensure even toasting and avoid overbrowning. Turn the walnuts onto a clean dish towel and roll and rub them around to loosen the skins. Coarsely break the walnuts, scraping off and discarding as much of the skins as possible. Cool completely and coarsely chop the walnuts.
If baking the cookies shortly after making the dough, raise the oven temperature to
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the clarified butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, egg, and vanilla on low speed for 1 minute.
Add the flour mixture. Start on the lowest speed to moisten the flour. Raise the speed to low and beat for 30 seconds. Add the chocolate chips and walnuts and beat on low speed just until evenly incorporated.
Divide the dough in half, about
Bake for 5 minutes. For even baking, rotate the cookie sheet halfway around. Continue baking for 5 to 7 minutes. The cookies should be brown around the edges, just beginning to brown on the tops, and still feel slightly soft when pressed lightly with a fingertip.
Set the cookie sheet on a wire rack and let the cookies cool for 1 minute so that they will be firm enough to transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Use a pancake turner to lift the cookies onto another wire rack. They will firm up as they cool and are most delicious when eaten slightly warm.
While the first batch of cookies is baking, shape the dough for the second batch.
Airtight: room temperature, 2 weeks; refrigerated, 1 month; frozen, 3 months.
Copyright © 2014 by Cordon Rose, LLC. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.